Property resale registration fees illegal in Abu Dhabi

I have a question on the topic of developers’ so-called registration fees on resales. I am buying a villa in Abu Dhabi and the developer is charging a whopping 5 per cent fee for the resale registration. I was under the impression that this was made illegal by the new property law in Abu Dhabi. MC, Abu Dhabi

You are indeed correct. The new real estate law No 3 of 2015 regulating the real estate sector in the emirate of Abu Dhabi came into effect in January 2016. The law prohibits developers from collecting registration fees from investors and only allows them to charge administration fees, which must be approved by Abu Dhabi Department of Municipal affairs (DMA). The customary 2 per cent registration fees have therefore been abolished. Charging 5 per cent for the resale registration is contrary to this law, so I recommend you contact the DMA for appropriate action.

We are renting a two-bedroom and our contract expires at the end of the month. We gave not­ice to vacate the unit on December 28 last year. We then changed our minds and sent an email stating we wished to continue with the contract for 12 months until February 2018. We received an email back saying this was fine. Then on January 27 we received a phone call stating the landlord now won’t agree to renew the contract as he wants to move in. Can he do this? They already confirmed on January 8 that we could renew. This has now only left us with little notice to find a new place with three small children. PM, Dubai

We are all entitled to change our minds because of circumstances. With your situation however, it is fairly straightforward. As per law 33 of 2008, if the owner wants to recover the property for his own use or use by next of kin of first degree, he is entitled to do so. The procedure is as follows. He has to inform you of his decision in writing, via notary public or registered mail – email notifications are not valid. Within the notice, he also has to give you 12 months’ notice to vacate, therefore this next renewal will be your last year at the property and you will have to vacate at the end of February 2018. The owner can then move in.

After you have moved out, the owner is not allowed to re-let the property for a period of two years from the date of your eviction. If he does, you would then be entitled to compensation.

One last point to mention is that if an owner wishes to recover his property to move into it, he also has to show that he doesn’t own another suitable alternative property he could also move into.

My tenant regularly delays the rent payments. Last year, he gave four cheques and all were returned because his account is dormant. After a big argument, he paid me the rent in cash. His contract is due for renewal and again he gave me cheques from the same dormant account, but he assured me they will not bounce. Can I file an eviction notice to leave the property in 30 days because of his previous returned cheques? Also, how can the police and the Rera dispute team see that he has issued cheques from a closed account? He refused to pay any penalty for returned cheques. UA, Dubai

You are entitled to serve a 30-day eviction notice for non-payment of rent. After this period has elapsed with no rent paid, you can then file a case at the rental dispute settlement committee (RDSC). It is important to know, however, that if at any time during the 30-day period the tenant pays the requested amount you will not be able to continue with the eviction order. Clearly this is not satisfactory, so if you do file a case at the RDSC there is always a chance that you will not get the eviction you would like if the tenant pays up. Issuing any payment from a known closed account is a fraudulent action, so I’m sure that the police will be able to advise better as to what action you can take even after the tenant has vacated your property.

Mario Volpi is the chief sales officer for Kensington Exclusive Properties and has worked in the property industry for the past 32 years in London and Dubai. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and they do not reflect in any way those of the institutions to which he is affiliated. It does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only. Please send any questions to mario.volpi@kensington.ae

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